ARVADA — Rocky Mountain senior Mike Madden’s goal in the 98th minute allowed the Lobos to escape the freezing drizzle … and more importantly punch the Lobos’ ticket to the Class 5A boys soccer state quarterfinals.
“I’m just happy to get out of here. It’s cold,” Madden said after knocking home a rebound off a direct free kick taken by Rocky Mountain junior Riley Keeler just outside the goal box early in the second-overtime period. “We are going back to FoCo (Fort Collins). It feels good.”
The goal gave the No. 13 seed Rocky Mountain a dramatic 4-3 double-overtime victory over No. 4 Arvada West on Wednesday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.
“I was on the left side of the wall because I knew there would be some sort of a deflection,” Madden said of the game-winning goal. “The ball just happened to land right there and I put it in.”
Rocky Mountain stays on the road for the quarterfinals. The Lobos will face the winner of No. 12 Arapahoe and No. 5 Boulder on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Warriors and Panthers had a night game up in Boulder.
“I thought we were in it the whole game,” said A-West coach Troy Gette after the Wildcats’ 9-game winning streak and season came to an end. “I never really felt that we weren’t going to come back. In overtime it just takes one bounce. They got the bounce.”
Rocky Mountain took an early lead thanks to a penalty kick by junior Jake Swan in the 4th minute. However, A-West responded in the 13th minute with a penalty kick goal of its own by senior Conner Bickford after the Lobos’ were called for a handball in the goal box.
The Lobos got back in the lead in the 24th minute. Sophomore Dario Gonzales corralled a rebound after a shot and fired a slow shot past A-West junior goalie Jacoby Landskov, giving Rocky Mountain a 2-1 advantage.
The Wildcats answered again scoring the equalizer in the 37th minute on a nice give-and-go goal that ended with senior Keegan Nelson putting it in the back of net. The goal knocked the game up 2-2 at halftime.
“It was kind of what we expected,” Gette said. “We just couldn’t get the lead.”
Rocky Mountain (11-5-1 record) took the lead again in the 64th minute on the second goal of the night by Gonzales on a great assist by senior Hadrood Webster.
Again, A-West knotted things up at 3-3 with eight minutes to play in regulation time. Senior Judah Johnston hammered home the Wildcats’ second penalty kick goal to send the game into overtime.
“It’s tough,” Johnston said after his final game played at NAAC. “I think they (Rocky Mountain) came out with a fire that I didn’t feel like we had. They kept on pressuring us and pressuring us. We couldn’t get a break and that is what I thought was the deciding factor in the game.”
A-West and Rocky Mountain met in the regular season back on Sept. 16 at NAAC. The Wildcats took a 4-1 victory with Bickford scoring a pair of goals for A-West. Johnston and junior Kyler Tate each added a goal in the non-league win.
“The first time we played them it was early in the season and we made a lot of mistakes,” Madden admitted. “We’ve improved a lot. I knew we could come down here and get it done.”
The Wildcats graduate seven seniors from their team that won back-to-back 5A Jeffco League titles and amassed a 27-7 record over the past two seasons. A-West was also the lone 5A Jeffco team to advance past the first round of the playoff the last two years.
“For me I’m just really thankful to have had the opportunity to do this,” said Johnston, who took back-to-back 5A Jeffco League MVP honors his junior and senior champaign. “I know I can look back at my teammates knowing that they will live out the legacy myself and my fellow seniors have built.”